Thursday, January 03, 2008

Only Half An Investigation

By Cernig

Today, Pakistan's Musharraf signalled in the clearest possible way that the investigation into Benazir Bhutto's death will be only half an investigation - with the most important questions already answered the way he wants them whether Scotland Yard is involved or not.
President Pervez Musharraf said Thursday that uncertainty remained about the exact cause of Benazir Bhutto's death, despite an initial government report that she was killed when a bomb blast slammed her head into her vehicle.

"One should not give a statement that's 100 percent final. That's the flaw that we suffer from," Musharraf said at a news conference, noting that more evidence was emerging about the attack. "We needed more experience, maybe more forensic and technical experience that our people don't have. Therefore I thought Scotland Yard may be more helpful."

Musharraf said he also reached out to British investigators for assistance to dispel accusations that Pakistan's military or intelligence services were involved.

"We don't mind going to any extent, as nobody is involved from the government or agency side," he said.

...He conceded there were shortcomings in Pakistan's handling of the case, including the hosing down of the bomb site hours after the attack, widely seen as undermining a detailed forensic examination. But he dismissed any suggestion there was a plan to conceal evidence.

"I'm not fully satisfied. I will accept that: cleaning the area. Why did they do that? If you are meaning they did that by design I would not say no. It's just inefficiency, people thinking things have to be cleared, traffic has to go through," he said.
He's so sure of that, despite everything, even before the investigators from the UK arrive? There's been a clean-up operation.

The question of who ordered Bhutto's death, then, is already settled in Musharraf's view and the narrative on that will not be questioned by subsequent investigations. Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud is to be blamed, despite his denying involvement and himself calling for a UN investigation, despite US intelligence misgivings about Pakistan's claims, despite obvious questions about regime complicity raised by Bhutto herself before her death and by others all along.

Instead, investigations will focus on the question of exactly how Bhutto died during an assassination attempt which succeeded in killing its target - a spurious distraction entirely manufactured by the Pakistani regime to distract from the more important questions that will now be swept under the carpet.

And the elections will be delayed by six weeks, despite both main opposition parties calling for them to go ahead as planned. The delay benefits Musharraf's proxies and supporters most - which is quite possibly the point of the whole exercise. Musharraf's supporters in the West would hardly have swallowed such a delay for any lesser reason.

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